Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today's Traffic Engineer: Dinosaur?


Sam Schwartz, former New York City Traffic Commissioner, bridge and highway builder, laments how marginalized today's traffic engineers have become.  Why? Says Schwartz, they may have themselves to blame. Here's a snippet from his essay in ENR.COM.
Traffic engineers are being marginalized and viewed as anachronisms, like Mad Men from a bygone age. As Christopher B. Leinberger, senior fellow at The Brookings Institution and professor of planning at the University of Michigan, writes in a recent NY Times op-ed, “traffic engineers dismissively call [bus and light-rail systems, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements]  ‘alternative transportation.’”
In saying so, he, and planners around the world, are being dismissive of me and my profession. We are the GEICO Neanderthals of society. 
And who’s to blame? Yes, we deserve a lot of it. We, as a profession, continued to build more roads, wider roads, and faster roads while knowing full well we were running out of capacity and making transport systems less efficient.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

To All Who Helped, Supported: THANKS!!

A huge thank you to all who signed our Ashley Crossing Coalition petition!! 

It ALL helped!! 

Charleston County officials announced late last week that South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Robert St. Onge had decided that using one lane on the old Legare Bridge for self-propelled folks will work without significantly hurting car traffic!!
With your help, Charleston Moves got the message across: Bicycling and walking are a big deal -- no matter whether you think of them as recreation or something more serious, like commuting to and from work.

Every trip not taken in a car is a trip that promotes personal health, retards pollution, and advances community wellbeing.

This crossing will bring the West Ashley Greenway to vibrant life, and stimulate all of West Ashley and beyond.

A huge thank you goes also to Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr., and Charleston County Council Chair Teddie Pryor Sr. for their strong advocacy of this decision as well as to Charleston City Councilman Mike Seekings and members of County Council.

(Click here to read today's editorial in the Post and Courier)

 Obviously, we at Charleston Moves still have plenty of work to do on this! This wonderful decision doesn’t magically produce the money necessary to complete all the work that lies ahead. So, our continued support for the Ashley Crossing will be crucial. We also face more challenges in making sure there is connectivity to and from James Island and Folly Beach. More on that coming up this year!

Charleston Moves is grateful for your support.

Enjoy your holidays and stay tuned!

P.S. If you’d like to send a thank you note to the government officials who made this happen:

Robert St. Onge, Jr, Secretary SC Department of Transportation
955 Park Street
Columbia, SC 29201
stongerj@scdot.org

Teddie Pryor, Sr.,
Charleston County Council Chair
2700 Crestline Drive
North Charleston, SC29405
tpryor@charlestoncounty.org

Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr.
50 Broad Street
Charleston, SC 29402
rileyj@charleston-sc.gov

Ashley Crossing!! -- the EDITORIAL

Charleston's Post and Courier seems to love the decision to forge ahead with the plan to convert a car lane to a bike and pedestrian lane. Click on the editorial to read the whole thing fullscreen. Praise for Ashley Crossing Decision The project is still not fully funded, and a further vote on it will be taken by Charleston County Council. (Please tell your county council person to support it!) Indications are that nothing will happen until the completion of the current construction project on Charleston's Crosstown.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ashley Crossing: OFFICIAL APPROVAL LETTER

Here is the letter from the Secretary of the South Carolina Department of Transportation OK-ing the Ashley Crossing. St Onge - Ashley Crossing Note that in a strongly-worded provision, it specifies that a longer-term solution must be found. Charleston Moves is elated at this news and committed to working with all government entities to make sure this bike/pedestrian lane, a key connector in Charleston, becomes a reality as soon as possible.

Friday, December 16, 2011

THIS JUST IN!!


WE HAVE JUST RECEIVED THIS FROM CHARLESTON COUNTY OFFICIALS.....

SCDOT Gives the Green Light to the Ashley River Bridge Retrofit
New design will provide bicyclists and pedestrians a safe way to cross the bridge

On Friday, December 16, Chairman of Charleston County Council Teddie E. Pryor, Sr., and Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. received a response from the Secretary of Transportation, Robert J. St. Onge, Jr. concerning SCDOT’s review of the feasibility study to accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians on the Ashley River Bridge (the T. Allen Legare Bridge). 

SCDOT’s response accepts the conclusions of the feasibility study that one travel lane can be successfully converted into a bicycle and pedestrian travel lane. St. Onge’s letter stated that the SCDOT will allocate staff resources to work with both the City and the County to finalize the study’s recommendations. 

The County and the City remain committed to working side-by-side with the SCDOT to complete the engineering drawings to move the plan forward.  Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. said “I am most appreciative of Secretary St. Onge’s dedication to finding ways to improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility and safety in our community”.  Mayor Riley also said “SCDOT’s positive response is a substantial step forward in creating a bicycle and pedestrian lane for the Ashley River Bridge”.  The Chairman of County Council echoed the mayor’s sentiments and added “I look forward to working with County Council to get the necessary resources to move this project forward,” Pryor said.
County and City staff along with the SCDOT will meet in January to begin finalizing the design.

The project, is being completed by Charleston County at the request of the City of Charleston.
 The project is being funded by  the Charleston County Transportation Sales Tax,

- - - - - - - 
Charleston Moves, which conducted an extensive project to enumerate support for this project, is elated at this news.  Tom Bradford, Director, said this answers one huge remaining question about connectivity for Charlestonians who either cannot afford to drive cars all the time, or who simply choose not to.  He said the organization predicts the bike/pedestrian traffic on this bridge will eventually dwarf that on the Cooper River Bridge.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Charleston Area Transportation Funding Announcement

Charleston Area Transportation Study group has submitted its recommendation about funding a number of bicycle and pedestrian projects in the coming year.  Charleston Moves is among the 19 participant groups in the CHATS  group.
In this round, a total of $2,482,207 was made available.  The individual project requests were ranked by vote of the participants.

Ranking - Points (to reference interest) - Grant Winners - and some of what it means from our perspective:

  1. 811 points - Ben Sawyer Causeway project - 8' multiuse path, repave causeway and add 2' shoulders, lower speed limit part way, narrower lanes (future request to lower speed limit rest of the way)
  2. 788 points - Sawmill Branch - complete the Sawmill Branch Multi-use path, new bicycle lanes and sidewalks on Dorchester Rd, new crosswalks, connect into other routes, landscaping
  3. 777 points - Hanahan Comprehensive Plan - New Multi-use Path, new crosswalk connections... links residential to commercial, schools, and recreation. Our comment: getting a healthy jump on town planning!
  4. 756 points - St. Thomas Island - New Multiuse Path and separate bridge for path connecting Clements Ferry Rd to Daniel Island (this is phase I to Blackbaud entrance)
  5. 733 points - Glen McConnell - New Multiuse Path from Bees Ferry (has 10' MU going in now) to Mary Adar (School, Park, residential, commercial)
  6. 730 points - N. Chas Dorchester Rd - Infill Sidewalks.  Approximately 1 mile of missing sidewalk in a 5 mile stretch of road. Connects Schools, Commercial, Residential.
Those six projects account for the funding available for this period (estimate adjusted slightly to match exactly).  In past years some projects have had to return money because they could not raise local match (min 20%), or because of other issues.  Because it is a three-year wait until the next application, the CHATS committee decided to list the next alternate project in case another project couldn't go forward and its funds were made available for another.
That next project, now listed as a first alternate, is:
     Alt. 729 - Rifle Range Road - 8' MU path through the new 275 acre park on Rifle Range Rd with min 5' sidewalks connecting either side to Hamlin Rd and Six Mile Rd. Sidwalks are supposed to be wider where this is room (lots of houses close to the road here)

Projects that did not receive funding this time due to lack of funding (and garnering fewer votes) are: 
  • SC 171 - Connection From Charleston Town Landing to North Bridge Park (base of bridge) on Sam Rittenberg.
  • SC 61 - MU path and sidewalks on Ashley River Road under 526 (1+ mile of path).
  • Savage Rd - Sidewalk from 17 to Ashley Town Center Rd (costco to lowes road).
  • Amy Drive - Sidewalks along Amy Drive connecting school, church, residential in Goose Creek.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Biking Isn't Just Speed and Skills



“Biking isn’t just speed and skills” declared Melody Hile, who participated in the Preservation Society of Charleston’s Preservation Pedal. “I really had fun and met a lot of interesting people”. Charles Fox reported that “it was a blast”. From 10 a.m. to noon on a glorious Saturday, December 3, over 90 bicyclists used their PSC’s created color coded maps detailing places of interest in five of Magnolia Umbra’s twenty four cemeteries, including the most well-known, Civil War era Magnolia Cemetery. Docents were stationed throughout the cemeteries to answer questions. At noon bicyclists pedaled over to Taco Boy for more celebration of a great day. Proceeds from the $10 admission fee are earmarked for the Society’s Seven To Save Fund, which includes Magnolia’s Receiving Tomb which is in need of stabilization and restoration.




Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reinventing the Two Wheeler

An article from a couple months ago in the Wall Street Journal. Posting it up here because it has some nice descriptions and photos of bicycles similar to what is found in other parts of the world, but are becoming more available around here.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204226204576603301772974170.html#articleTabs%3Darticle